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What a TPA Program Management Company Should Be Doing

Choosing the right company to help manage your drug and alcohol testing program is not always a priority for companies. Whether you are a large construction or food preparation/serving company to a smaller owner-operator truck driver regulated by the Department of Transportation, the choice is usually overlooked by more revenue-centric decisions.

Without realizing, these companies will soon face stress, inefficiencies, extra costs, and time-consuming tasks within the testing process that could have been prevented in the first place.

The wrong choice in a service agent for your drug testing services may or may not cause ongoing problems, but it only takes one test to go bad for devastating consequences to occur.

As Joe Reilly, past Chairman and current board member of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA) said in an article, “drug and alcohol testing is serious business; it is not like buying office supplies where you get the lowest price for 100 staplers. You need a drug testing program with many moving parts and you need service, compliance, accuracy and someone who will answer the phone.”

what a consortium tpa should do

Before You Start Looking For A TPA

You should clearly list what services you need. This will depend greatly on your operation. Ask yourself:

  • • Do you have DOT-regulated (Department of Transportation) employees?
  • • Do you have both DOT and non-DOT regulated employees?
  • • Are you in a state with Drug-Free Workplace program requirements?
  • • Do you operate in one state or multiple states?

As you answer these questions and clearly list what services you need, you can then start matching up qualified C/TPAs that can provide these services. The local doctors’ office that handles your employment physicals may also be qualified to collect urine specimens, but are they qualified to manage DOT and non-DOT programs in their entirety?

Basics In Evaluating A TPA:

Some of the basics in evaluating a prospective C/TPA to work with you help to ensure your employer drug testing program includes insurance coverage, qualification, experience, and the ability to handle your specific needs as an employer.

  • • A C/TPA that specializes and has knowledge of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug testing programs may not have the same knowledge and experience in managing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs.
  • • Depending on the state(s) in which you are located for your non-DOT drug testing program, the C/TPA must have knowledge of the state law and expertise in any state Drug-Free Workplace program requirements.
  • • Many states offer discounts on workers’ compensation insurance when the employer implements a comprehensive drug-free workplace program; if you are taking advantage of these programs and receiving the discount, you will want a C/TPA who has knowledge and experience with that particular state program.

Qualification And Experience

Knowing the basic services you need from a TPA, you are ready to ask some deeper questions on what qualifies them to do the job you need done for your specific needs. Ask the TPA to tell you:

  • • What makes them qualified?
  • • What is the TPA’s experience?
  • • How long have they been in business?
  • • Do they service similar employers?
  • • Can the TPA provide you with references?

The TPA Should Set Up Collection Sites For You

For companies that have “safety-sensitive” employees that travel a lot, like truck drivers, finding a collection site nearest them after being selected for a random drug test can be time consuming and difficult. Instead of wasting your time on the phone, make sure your Program Management Company can handle this process for you.

“Coming across North Dakota, my wife called that I received a drug test notification in the mail. I called CleanFleet for the closest collection site. They had one in Fargo, ND. When I walked in, they not only were expecting me but CleanFleet had already sent them all the paperwork and everything was taken care of quickly. Within two hours of my wife’s call, I was done and back on the road. Thank you CleanFleet!” – O’Brian Trucking.


The TPA Should Manage The Whole Collection Process

Not only should your program management company find a near-by collection site, they should manage the whole collection process. This includes calling the collection site to notify your employee is coming, calling the MRO (Medical Review Officer) to check the status of the results, make sure data integrity of the paperwork is accurate (such as misspelled names, correcting the authority type, and testing reason), and tracking down Chain of Custody Forms. This will help speed up the testing process.


The TPA Should “Secret-Shop” Their Collection Site Network

Most TPAs are not vetting the collection sites in their network. “Secret-shopping” includes experiencing what the location is like, how efficient (or not) they are, and most importantly making sure they know what to do. For example, there are many state rules around point-of-collection testing with quick testing kits. In Oregon, point-of-collection testing is used for employment purposes only and all non-negative results must be verified by a lab. Making sure that collection sites are trained on kits, understand the various state laws, and are registered with states should be a priority. When choosing a TPA to manage your Testing Program, check to see if they vet the quality of the collection sites in their network.


The TPA Should Provide DER Training To Help Companies Better Manage Their Testing Program

Your TPA should be experts in the drug and alcohol testing industry. Don’t just take their word for it. Look to see if they offer DER or Reasonable Suspicion Training. This is very important when certifying supervisors on what to look for and how to handle the testing process within your company, especially for DOT regulated companies that need to understand Part 382 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. At CleanFleet, we train supervisors on testing procedures, notice requirements, start dates, employee admission, required testing, how to handle test results, record retention, understanding policies and confidentiality, and more.


The TPA Should Not Charge For Consultations

If the company managing your testing program charges for consultations, you are paying way too much. We believe that quality customer service should be the most important part of the relationship and should not cost clients even more. We want to be more than a Drug and Alcohol Testing and Program Management Company, but your resource for all industry questions and concerns. If you ever have any questions, call us at 503-479-6082.

What A 3rd Party Should Be Able To Do:

  • • Have relationships with labs that are SAMHSA certified
  • • Consolidated billing from collection, lab, and MRO
  • • Strong quality control in getting results corrected
  • • Track down documentation of the test
  • • Ensuring that the drugs tested match your company drug testing policies
  • • Submission of both positive and negative blind quality control specimens to laboratories testing for adulterants and dilution
  • • Certified Medical Officer Review (MRO) of all DOT results, negative or positive, with confidential reporting to a designated representative at your company
  • • Offers sample policies and policy development assistance
  • • Actually knows and tracks federal and state laws and regulations
  • • Offers guidance in complying with state and federal drug/alcohol testing laws
  • • Offers unlimited consulting and troubleshooting
  • • Has over 3,000 network testing locations throughout the nation
  • • Electronic Chain of Custody forms available
  • • Facilitates the setup of drug testing anywhere in the nation at no additional charge
  • • Offers DOT and Non-DOT supervisor training
  • • Has certified trainers (collection, BAT, STT) on staff
  • • Is a member of national drug testing, drug prevention organizations such as DATIA
  • • Will assist your company throughout a DOT audit, proving documentation you may need give you a heads up of what they may find

Why CleanFleet?

Employers need to protect themselves from non-compliance issues with regulatory authorities and also from exposure to liability. The wrong choice in a service agent for your drug testing services may or may not cause ongoing problems, but it only takes one test to go bad for devastating consequences to occur.

CleanFleet is a Best-In-Class TPA with the experience, training, staff, and certifications/accreditations needed to handle your company’s Drug Testing Program, no matter your industry. Call us today at 503-479-6082.

Fill out the form if interested in joining CleanFleet's Consortium

Fill out the form if interested in joining CleanFleet's Consortium